“When Apple broadens its service to the Windows environment — expected some time later this year — the potential audience will expand dramatically. Canada will be added to the Apple system when the CRIA completes its negotiations in the fall.
At that time, Canadian competitors will also enter the field. One that is ready to go is PureTracks, a pay-for-play service developed by Toronto firm Moontaxi Media Inc.
“All the signals are looking very positive,” said Moontaxi founder Alistair Mitchell. “We’re still planning our launch for the fall.”
The PureTracks content will include material from all the major Canadian record companies and the bigger independent labels, Mr. Mitchell said. The “indies” are crucial, because “a big reason why people go on-line to look for music is to find stuff that is new, emerging, niche repertoire,” he said.
While the company had originally considered charging a monthly subscription for downloads, market research clearly showed consumers much preferred a per-download pricing structure.
Apple’s success with its 99-cent-a-tune system underlined that “à la carte” was the way to go, Mr. Mitchell said. It also showed there was clearly a business case for a high-quality pay system in competition with free downloads. Apple’s experience “told us it was worth our while to be making this happen,” he said.”